Forget the Name! (Matthew 20:27)

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A truly humble person will want to do things for others without calling attention to himself or to his deeds. Jean Frederic Oberlin, a celebrated Lutheran minister in 18th-century Germany, encountered a person who had this servant attitude. It was winter and Oberlin was traveling by foot when a severe snowstorm engulfed the countryside. He soon lost his way in the blowing snow and feared that he would freeze to death. In despair he sat down, not knowing which way to turn. Just then, a man passing by in a wagon saw Oberlin and rescued him. He took the minister to the next village and made sure he’d be cared for. As the rescuer prepared to leave, Oberlin said, “Tell me your name so that I may at least have you in grateful remembrance before God.” The man, who by now had recognized Oberlin, replied, “You are a minister. Please tell me the name of the good Samaritan.” Oberlin said, “I cannot do that, for it is not given in the Scriptures.” To this his benefactor responded. “Until you can tell me his name, please permit me to withhold mine.”

That’s a genuine humility – like the attitude of Jesus Himself. Our Lord deserved the praise of men more than anyone else who ever lived. Yet He “came not be ministered unto, but to minister (Matthew 20:28). If something of that same quality marks our service, we won’t be concerned about being remembered. It won’t matter if people forget our name, just so long as they do not forget the name of Jesus. – Paul R. Van Gorder

True greatness does not lie with those

Who strive for worldly fame,

It lies instead with those who choose

To serve in Jesus’ name. – D. J. De Haan

When we forget about ourselves, we usually start doing things others will remember.

  • January 11, 1985, Our Daily Bread
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